I had fun taking pictures at the farm. There are so many interesting things there. My biggest task of each day was the eggs. Silver Forge has 100+ little ladies who poke about in the coop. It was a nice experience being able to tap into their collective needs and to even help a few of them out individually. They were definitely wary of me but after a few days, we got used to each other. It takes focus, balance and patience to go in and collect eggs without upsetting them too much.
These brown ones down below were the most pleasant to interact with. They weren't as skiddish or paranoid. Chris said the white ones had crazy eyes.
I'd say there was around 4 dozen on average per day. I didn't lose very many to breakage. Any of them that didn't look pretty enough to sell were the ones we set aside for breakfast in the mornings. We both felt good about being able to enjoy the full circle experience of collecting, cleaning, eating and recycling the eggs.
I always enjoyed egg hunts as a kid! I quickly figured out where the hot spots were and I thought it was funny how many of them went up on top of the big water container to lay.
They really enjoy burrowing. There were holes all over where the girls rolled around in the dirt and just nestled. I felt really bad for the factory farm chickens who don't have the opportunity to do things like this. These ladies were very happy. They have a good life here.
This one let me pet her. She was so soft. I collected the eggs in a wire basket and then brought them inside to wash. I had a reasonably effective system figured out as the week went on. From Sunday to Thursday, I'd say I probably collected and crated 13 or 14 dozen eggs. I washed about another 3 dozen the last day. I don't know if the normally produce more than that. The weather can often be a factor in how comfortable they feel so the heat may have impaired them a bit. We tried our best to keep their water barrel filled and the definitely consumed a good amount.
Some of the eggs were HUGE. I couldn't help but to feel sorry for those poor girls! We ate the freakishly large ones too simply because they didn't fit well in the crates. The tall one in the back right had two yolks!
Farm fresh eggs are definitely a labor of love. Shannon and Eliezer charge $5 a dozen for them at the market. Some people give them grief because they're used to paying a dollar a dozen at the supermarket. What they don't realize is that they are far from fresh and full of hormones and antibiotics. These eggs are not mass produced. They sell out of them almost every week. At most, they are 5 days old. The care, upkeep and labor that goes into each set of 12 completely justifies the cost. I consider it a bargain! We generally get two to three meals out of each dozen which is cheaper than a fast food breakfast sandwich.
The Silver family returned from Cape Cod last night and so we left earlier that evening after the eggs were washed. Chowder and Ripley said their goodbyes and we were on our way back to the condo. I found myself missing the animals today. We'll have a lot of fun stories to exchange tomorrow at the West Windsor Farmers Market.